Dear Austin

Dear Austin, Please do not burn down. I have big plans for us.  Dear Austin Bloggers, I love you already and am proud to have been welcomed into your little group. Dear City I Adore, Please have your way with my husband while we are apart. I expect him to be madly in love by the time I get there. Dear New Home, I know we haven’t found each other yet, but please save yourself for me. I know many are homeless as of late and they should get first dibs….but second dibs.. CALLED IT. Dear Austinites, I have some openings. See below:

Personal Navigator:
I will be lost on a regular basis (read: every time I leave the house) and my gps is rude and tends to yell when I don’t follow directions. Plus it thinks it knows more than it actually does. Required: Endless patience and keen sense of where I might be even if I can’t tell you.

Restaurant Concierge:
I am actually moving just so I never have to eat at applebees again. I’m not kidding. At least not about the never eating at applebees again. I need someone to tell me what I am in the mood for, the best place to get it, and what they would order. It would be even better if you would just come with me. My personal navigator will probably be ready for a break, so you should just pick me up. Required: Mind reading abilities and must be a bit snobby about food.

Mildly Competitive Exercise Partner:
I plan to explore Austin with a fork in one hand and so I’m guessing my running shoes should be in the other. I need someone who is only slightly better in shape than me so my competitive nature will kick in but I won’t hate you before we even start. You should be nice, too. That way when I don’t feel like preventing (more….I am thirty and did incubate four humans) jiggle for me, I still care enough about you to show up. Required:Obliviousness to my lack of coordination and incessant complaining about being hot.

Model/Tour Guide:
I have a camera. I’m good with it. It use to make me lots of money. We are coming around to each other again. I’d like to spend sometime with it in some cool places. Unfortunately my kids aren’t on speaking terms with said camera or the mama who gets a bit crazy only when her own children are in front of it and act like they have never had a single picture taken (or maybe the opposite is the problem). And I haven’t discovered all the magical places yet. So I have some openings. Requirement: Creative/beautiful location and a willingness to gush about how the photographs I take of your children make you forget about all the crap they break and your stretch marks. Lots of gushing. And showing your friends.

Pew Partner:
We need a church. And in order for it to feel like my church, I need the buzz of a crowd and the intimacy of friends. So I need someone to sit next to me and help me avoid all that stranger danger that occurs during the {greet-one-another} time. Required: Church without pews (probably) and willingness to talk for hours till we know more of each other’s stories than not.

Local Fearless Partner in Crime:
I will complicate your life. But I’ll also let you in on my kitchen creations, read your favorite books, grocery shop with you at midnight, and love your kids. I’ll pack you a picnic, listen to you complain about your mother in law and make you dinner when life is overwhelming. Required: Ability to be easily excited when I say I have a plan. Must be messy, have baggage, and need to be loved.

Eating my way through San Francisco

A couple of months ago I spent a few days wandering through San Francisco. In need of a creative kick-start and a little adventure, this foodie city was the perfect place to explore. I loved everything about the trip. I shopped at a farmer’s market with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge and sat at the counter at an amazing seafood restaurant in Little Italy watching every dish ordered be prepared. I had lunch with a man I met on the streets of China Town and listened to the story of how he came to the US and about the 30 years he had spent living in China Town. I bought fortune cookies made before my eyes and a tiffin box for my collection. I spent hours in coffee shops eating my weight in croissants and met a quiche that ruined me for all other attempts at the dish. I watched the sun go down from a boat on the San Francisco Bay and sailed under the cities iconic bridges.  I read, I wrote, and I walked until I could not consider another step. Soul refreshed.

Here is the thing about seeking out adventure- it’s never over.  It just leads us to thenext place we are supposed to be. San Francisco was amazing and just what I needed, but crossing some of those things off my list just made room for more. When I got home, I knew I had to try to make Bi-Rite’s famous salted caramel ice cream and see if I could make Tartine’s quiche a part of my life. One down…one to go! One down…I should really make a list!

Culinary Adventures (or probably mis-adventures!)

Salted caramel ice cream from scratch (First batch of caramel went down the sink. And by “went” I mean painfully scrapped and scrubbed.)
Make spinach and smoked gruyere quiche
Learn to make croissants
Cook all the recipes from Like Water for Chocolate
Master sandwich bread
Take a cooking class in India
Eat beignets in New Orleans
Can my own pickles
Eat a Hot Dog on the streets of New York City
Make mozzarella
Eat Memphis barbecue
Pick up a magazine with a gorgeous cover recipe, buy all the ingredients immediately, go home and make it.
Give up soda
Make homemade pasta
Go to the Food and Wine Fest at Epcot in Walt Disney World
Buy a local cookbook in every new city I visit
Consistently eat seasonally (and more organic)
 

 

What’s on your list of things to eat, recipes to master, and things to embrace?